14 January 2004

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Malta’s per capita GDP revised to 71 per cent of EU average

By Kurt Sansone
The statistical data issued by Eurostat in December reveals much more than Malta’s current wealth when compared to other EU member states and accession countries. It shows the wide difference between Malta’s declared wealth in 2000 and the revised figure for that year computed by Eurostat.
In 2000 Malta’s GDP per capita as a percentage of the EU average was grossly under declared by 18 per cent. The original figure put Malta at 53 per cent of the EU average. Now, the revised figure for 2000, as computed by Eurostat, shows that Malta’s true GDP per capita then stood at 71 per cent of the EU average.
The revision exercise for 2000 was computed by the European research agency on all data presented by the EU member states and the 10 accession countries. It sought to streamline the data by bringing it in line with the current version of the European System of Accounts.
At the time, speculation was rife that Malta’s comparative wealth was being calculated in such a way as to show a below average value in a bid to qualify for as many funds as possible during negotiations.
EU member states are eligible for the maximum funds possible if they are below 75 per cent of the EU average.
While all accession countries registered fluctuations between the original calculations and the revised data, none of the differences were more than six percentage points.
The revised figure for Cyprus stood at 76 per cent, six percentage points less than the original calculation of 82 per cent. On the other hand, Lithuania’s revised figure was six per cent more than the original computation. In Malta’s case the revised figure added on a whopping 18 percentage points to the original calculation of 53 per cent.
The Eurostat data also shows that Malta’s current GDP per capita (for the year 2002) stands at 69 per cent of the EU average making the country one of the wealthiest among the 10 accession countries.
Cyprus has the highest GDP per capita, 76 per cent of the EU average while Malta and Slovenia are both second with GDP per capita calculated at 69 per cent of the EU average.
Latvia and Lithuania have the lowest GDP per capita at 35 per cent and 39 per cent respectively of the EU average.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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